Wealth inequality, the U.S.-China trade war, Brexit, and the upcoming U.S. political elections are among the top major issues today creating the most financial market uncertainty leading into 2020.
In short, a recession may be ahead. The Federal Reserve has a recession probability model which has been indicating a 31.5% probability for an upcoming recession, higher than even indicated in 2007, according to Forbes.
Deutsche Bank has stated that wealth inequality is a leading factor, which poses a high risk to financial markets in part as the assets of the wealthiest hold such high stakes in global business dealings and market turns.
Swiss financial services and investment company UBS recently conducted a survey of families averaging global wealth of over $1 billion. According to the UBS survey, over half anticipate a 2020 recession and have been adjusting their portfolios accordingly.
The U.S.-China trade war has contributed to a weaker Chinese economy, which has many concerned for what lies ahead depending on future trade deals, in addition to the European landscape and the impact of Brexit on economic growth and stability.
"Who knows what will happen with Brexit, what will happen in the EU, and what will happen between the U.S. and China," commented one UBS survey respondent. "There are so many open questions, and this could have a dramatic impact on the market." Other families surveyed also reported a cautious outlook ahead because of issues such as Brexit and trade relations between the U.S. and China, so these issues appear to be the common threads.
Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both focus on wealth inequality in their platforms, calling for increased taxation on the richest Americans. With next year offering the possibility of a new presidency, and even the potential of an impeachment, political uncertainty also leads as a contributor to the current economic climate.
When it comes to financial markets, inherent interrelationships between significant events, cautious outlook, and the economy is a given. The big question is how these circumstances and surrounding concerns will unfold and ultimately manifest in the upcoming year.